Nowadays, the view of clothes hang out on the clotheslines may be too rare to found. It really seems like this practice has long been ben left in the past. Currently, the drying process of the wash is played by the automated clothes dryers that can be found easily in the market. It allow laundry activity to be done indoor and become much more convenient. But have you ever thought how the chemical load on the clothes provides residue of detergents? Considering this fact, maybe the old practice is a much more better option.
Though it’s true the laundry process has become easier and more convenient, the process involves a lot of chemical substance. Starting from making a clothes softer, to prevent the pants sticking to the socks or the skirt wrapping around, products that contain chemical substance are used all the time. One of those products is anti-static dryer sheet is a product which is used in process to drying the wash.
This is of course a big problem since it means that every clothes we wear, including tha underwear that gets in contact with our sensitive part directly are all full of chemicals. We washed the clothes to get it cleaned but the truth is we only replace the dirt and grime into harmful chemicals after the washing process. All those substance rub onto our skin whenever we use the clothes.
Now let’s talk about dryer sheet specifically. Fabric softeners were already used the moment dryer sheets first introduced. These sheets were made using ammonium compound in particulat distearyl dimethyl ammonium chloride which use got discontinue later and replaced by other chemicals.
The main purpose of dryer sheets is to reduce static electricity build up in clothes. But later on the sheets are found to do better at distributing a thin layer of fabric softeners on the clothes. For many people, simply adding the sheets to the laundry seems to be a more convenient way compare to waiting for the right moment to add the liquid softener. In order to give a more pleasant experience, fragrance were added to the sheets. You can also find products that offer no fragrance, however it still packed with chemical substance.
These Are The Three Things That Dryers Sheets Do:
The Sheets Neutralize The Static Electricity On Machine-dried Clothes
When different material of clothes are washed and dried together, it can cause the clothes to stick together. This can happens due to the constant rubbing from one clothes to another which in the end may cause some clothes to end up positively charged and some other negatively charges.
Dryer sheets are full of cationic chemical that brings a positive charge. They can counteract negatively charged particles on the clothes which will remove the basic cause of static build up.
They Make the Clothes Become Softer And Free Of Wrinkle
Cationic antistatic chemical provides a similar action to fabric softeners. They have the ability to make the fabric fiber to stand up and makes the clothes become soft and compare to when you dry it up in the sun. The cationic chemicals used in softeners has double function which can fluffed up the fabric and also make it non-static.
Dyer sheets on the surface of the clothes can prevent wrinkles and piling. In most case, you don’t’ even have to iron the clothes. If you really don’t’ want to iron them, the waxy coating make you feel like the iron gliding across the fabric.
The Sheets gives a Pleasant Smell To The Clothes
There’s no doubt that everyone wants their laundry to smell fresh and clean. Actually, clean fabric doesn’t have any smell, but we have come to link certain smells with cleanliness. This is mostly likely the reason why the odorless form of Febreze was not popular. People need to smell certain odor on their clothes to say that it’s clean. That’s why the company add fragrance to the product. There are many choices of fragrance in the dryer sheets. However, you need to remember though they are offering natural fragrance there’s chemical substance included in the products.
The Reason You Should Stay Away From Dryer Sheets
How detergents and fabric softener can cause skin irritation or allergic detmatitis might not be a new information for you. Though changing the brand usually can eliminate the skin problem, there’s no guarantee that the new brand is really better. It may need more than several exposure before your body becomes sensitized. There are many other health risk of dryer sheets other than allergic dermatitis. The sheets can also cause respiratory allergies and asthma. Moreover, some of the chemicals are carcinogens and can trigger malignancies after accumulated in tissues over time. Another problems that is caused by these chemicals is nervous system disorders. Confusion, irritability, loss of coordination and memory loss are some of the mild form of it.
Below you can find the list of the toxic substances commonly found in dryer sheets:
Benzyl acetate – This substance is mainly used due to its pleasant fragrance. Benzyl acetate is combustible below the boiling point of water and may cause burning sensation in the airways when its vapor got inhaled. It can also cause labored breathing and sore throat. Exposure to this substance can cause drowsiness and confusion, dizziness, dry skin, and red eyes.
The use of gloves, googles, and protective clothing is advisable for those who are handling this chemical. The contaminated clothes need to be washed in water and soap. In contradiction, this chemical still use in laundry products.
Dichlorobenzene – This chemical has a great attraction for electrons and is used in pesticides. Its properties make it useful as an anti-static agent for fabric conditioners. The problem is the exposure to this harmful chemical can irritate eyes, skin, and throat. Being exposed to this chemical can also affect liver, central nervous system, and kidneys negatively. This chemical also considered as human carcinogen by EPA because it can cause liver and kidney tumors.
Ethyl acetate – This chemical has the ability to soften the clothes. Compare to other chemical, this substance is relatively safe. But the concentration above 400 ppm may irritate throat, eyes, and the nasal passages. It can also cause skin eruption in some people.
Camphor – Derived the pine oil, camphor is relatively safe to human despite its well-known repellant property. This substance was used in moth balls, skin medication and as a food flavoring agent before FDA discourage its use in 1980. Camphor can increase heart rate and suppress breathing and appetite even in small doses.
When use in large doses, it can affect the central nervous system, producing lethargy, irritability, disorientation, stomach cramps, and vomiting. It can also cause seizures and convulsion.
Chloroform – This chemical was use as anesthetic until its toxicity and fatal outcomes were discovered. Even so, this chemical still useful for many industrial uses. It has the capacity for hydrogen bonding and is used in anti-static products like dryer sheets. It gets absorbed thought skin, mouth, and airways. Exposure to this chemical can cause central nervous system and respiratory depression, eye irritation, skin sores and many others.
Alpha pinene, alpha terpineol, linalool, limonene – These are some of the other chemical additives in dryer sheets. Many essential oils are using the natural form of these aromatic. However, the use of their synthetic version is more common. Exposure to these chemicals can lead to nervous system disorder like depression.
Here Are 7 Alternative to Dryer Sheets You can Use Safely:
Baking soda is a natural deodorizer. If you know this already, you might even use in in your refrigerator or kitchen shelves to remove stale smells. Using baking soda in you laundry process is easy. Just add 3 tablespoons of baking soda into the washing machine to soften the clothes. It is also useful to remove the detergent residues.
Another ingredient that can be used to soften the clothes and remove detergent residues is white vinegar. White vinegar can also reduce static and remove mildew. You can use this ingredient safely, even for baby clothes. White vinegar is actually used to rinse cloth nappies to prevent nappy rashes. You just need to add ¼ cup of white vinegar in the rinse
Lowering the temperature
You can reduce the static build up by drying your clothes at a lower temperature. But of course the drying process will take more time. Another alternative is to take the laundry when it’s still slightly damp and dry it in the sun. Make sure you shake them well before hanging it up to prevent wrinkles.
Using Wire Hanger
Metals can help discharge the electric charge on clothes. Place the hunger from top to bottom and tuck it through the inside of the clothes. You may have to straighten out the wire to allow it to fit inside narrow sleeves and legs.
Utilize Reusable Dry Clothes
Reusable dry clothes are available to purchase. You can choose one with or without natural fragrance. To make one on your own, just wring out washcloth in vinegar. You can add your favorite essential oil to make it smell good.
Using Dryer Balls
Dryer ball are free from chemical substance and can be used repeatedly. They can help to make the clothes static-free and softer. Dryer balls can soften your clothes and reduce the buildup of electrical charges, and thus prevent the clothes to cling to one another.
Use Natural Fiber
Though maintaining synthetic fibers is quite easy, natural fiber like linen, cotton, and wool are a much healthies alternative. These fibers are good for your skin and you can stop worry about the need for dangerous chemical additives.
You can choose any of the above 7 alternative for a healthies option in taking care you laundry. It will keep you aware from skin problems and some more serious disease which cause by chemical additive in conventional laundry products.